Tuesday, April 24, 2012

9 Uses for Truffle Salt

Truffle Salt, The Spice House
"The most learned men have been questioned as to the nature of this tuber, and after two thousand years of argument and discussion their answer is the same as it was on the first day: we do not know. The truffles themselves have been interrogated, and have answered simply: eat us and praise the Lord!" - Alexandre Dumas

Ever since I was introduced to truffled fries at the Jolly Pumpkin in Ann Arbor, Mich., I've been obsessed with truffle salt. As soon as I got back to Chicago, I pounced on a jar from the Spice House (my favorite local purveyor of fresh spices) and proceeded to throw white truffle salt on just about everything I ate for a good week. I learned that while the smoky flavor of truffle goes well with many foods, there are some items that are far better off without it. That said, when truffles are good, they're good. There's a reason that throughout the centuries, they gained a reputation as an aphrodisiac. I'm still dreaming about a truffle cream sauce I ate two months ago.

Truffles don't hold their flavor very long at high heat, so truffle salt is best as a finishing salt. Cook your dish and sprinkle the truffle salt before serving. In my experience, truffle salt tends to enhance recipes that are fairly plain, without a laundry list of other spices and strong flavors. Here's a list of some great foods to try:

  • Lamb
  • Popcorn
  • Avocados
  • Tomatoes
  • Pork (here's a great recipe)
  • Chicken (most chicken recipes pair well, but I didn't think the truffle salt added anything to fried chicken)
  • Steak
  • Fries
  • Eggs (frittatas, scrambled, omelettes)

Truffles: once you start, you can't stop. If you have other ideas for truffle salt, post them in the comments!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Life-Size Stormtrooper Cake

These are not the cakes you're looking for. Move along.


Folks, this is epic. Not only is our stormtrooper friend quite tall at 6'4", he weighed a full 300 pounds before 600 geeks mercilessly ate all of his cakey goodness, which included Rice Krispy legs. (Largest. Rice Krispy. Ever.) It took a team of 10 people from Oak Leaf Cakes a full two weeks to build him for the Arisia Sci-Fi Convention in Boston.

Want to watch Mr. Stormtrooper devoured by hungry nerds? See: How to Eat a Stormtrooper. Never stand between a geek and her cake.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Recipe: Truffled Char Siu Pork Chops

Truffled Char Siu Pork Chops

Since an encounter with truffled fries at the Jolly Pumpkin in Ann Arbor, Mich., I've been obsessed with truffle salt. Over the last few months, I've been experimenting with it in a number of different dishes, and I've learned that the earthiness of truffle goes well with a host of ingredients. Char siu, one of my favorite Chinese foods, is a traditional preparation of spiced, roast pork. And since pigs eat truffles and are used to find them, I figured both flavors would work well together. It may be slightly strange logic, but it worked. The result? A delicious melding of the East and West.

Truffled Char Siu Pork Chops


Servings: 2
Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:


  • 2 pork chops
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon truffle salt

Preheat the broiler on high heat with the oven rack around 8 inches below it.

Coat the pork chops with olive oil, Chinese five spice, and brown sugar. Place them on the broiling pan. Broil the chops for 8 minutes or until the top is nicely browned.

Flip the pork chops and broil for another 3-4 minutes until they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. Take the pork chops out of the oven and cover them loosely with aluminum foil. Allow them to rest for 5 minutes (this will bring up the internal temperature and make them juicier). Sprinkle truffle salt on both sides to finish.